“Clutter Reduction Month”?!? ha ha ha! (And Some Actual Tips)

In addition to having asthma, I also have ADHD. This means that I know “clutter” very, very well. April is Clutter Reduction Month (apparently), which is all well and good in theory but um, seriously? Do they KNOW how much clutter I have?

Decluttering: A way to keep dust allergy at bay?

I haven’t found a way to de-clutter for good—quite the opposite, honestly. But just like it took me 7 or 8 years after I was diagnosed with asthma to finally get a dust-proof mattress cover, maybe one day, I’ll figure out managing the clutter too. Given most asthmatics also have a dust allergy, myself included, managing clutter is important to keep your living environment’s dust manageable. After all… It’s kind of hard to dust or vacuum regularly when there is all kinds of stuff collecting dust on top of shelves or in piles on your floor, preventing any sort of surface cleaning to occur.

While I’ve honestly not found (m)any sure fire ways to keep things un-cluttered, here are some tips for starting to reduce clutter—and some progress is better than none, right? For those of you good at managing your clutter and keeping your house sorted, these may seem obvious: these tips are for those like me who are entirely overwhelmed at just getting started.

Some tips to declutter:

  1. Choose a small area of the room. Seriously, when trying to get my bedroom under control last year, my mom would leave me notes to focus on one surface: my headboard shelf, my dresser, my desk, my floor. Or, break it down further: pick up all the clothes from the floor, etc.
  2. Work in short bursts If it’s hard to get started, tell yourself you only have to work for 10 or 15 minutes. Though I hate cleaning and organizing, I find I want to at least sort-of finish what I have started, so I’ll work for about double the time I planned to, if not longer.
  3. Make piles. Depending on your level of clutter you may not need this step—but if your bedroom looks like mine and consisted of a collection of papers, books/textbooks, clothes and other stuff on the floor and/or other surfaces, it may be useful. Categorize “clutter” items into piles (or better yet, boxes) to sort through later. This means you don’t get distracted filing for 3 hours when you should be just trying to get things under control. (…Been there.)
  4. Have storage containers available There’s nothing worse than sorting stuff and having nowhere to put it. Take a look before you start and make a few categories of stuff you have to put somewhere and don’t have anywhere they belong. Then find or buy a suitable storage container
  5. Provide yourself ample garbage bags. You may not think you have anything to throw out, but you’d be surprised! If possible, be ruthless—take pictures of those things you’re just holding on to because you “might need/want them”. If you can’t part with it, put it somewhere to look at again in 6-12 months and see if your feelings have changed.
  6. Have someone help—or hire someone. If you’re too overwhelmed, ask for help! You probably have *that friend* who is super organized and basically bought out all the organizational things in IKEA. Recruit them to help in exchange for dinner. Or, if you can and need to, hire somebody like a cleaner or professional organizer. Even if they get you started, it can help a lot to get things more manageable.
  7. Multi-task, sort of. Put on music, chat on the phone, or listen to a podcast or audiobook while you clean to make it more enjoyable—if you can call it that ;).
  8. Spend a little time each day. I lose momentum on this quickly, but spend a few minutes at the beginning or end of each day putting things back where they belong so they don’t build up and get overwhelming

Reducing clutter can be important for keeping dust levels manageable in your house—not just for making things look better! Once your space is manageable, it will be easier to keep clean, and hopefully, you’ll feel motivated to keep it organized.

I’m not quite sure I’ve hit that stage yet, though. 😉

How do you stay organized to keep your space lower in dust? Share your strategies in the comments!

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